Talking about traveling with a person really helps you get to know who they are. Laissez-faire personality types are usually content to just set out into the vast unknown, placing an emphasis on the journey rather than the destination. Then there are the control freaks that have every hour planned, right down to restaurants and pit stops. My preference is to fall somewhere in the middle, having a good guideline of places to go (and Google Maps to take me there), but being fairly open to change depending on weather, tiredness and the quality of local bars.
My better half and I are currently planning a trip through Central Europe, though most of the research has been left up to me (let’s just say she’s busy planning something else). Our two-week vacation will take us through Munich, Salzburg, Vienna, Budapest, Krakow and Prague, which is both fairly ambitious and ridiculously hard to plan. The beer research is solely my department (obviously), but has left me a little exasperated. While sites like Ratebeer and Beer Advocate have decent listings for places in the aforementioned cities, the problem has been trying to find reliable information for microbreweries along the trip. The beer ratings for the two sites contain a fairly small sample size for locally made beers, which makes it harder to determine the accuracy of the grades/percentiles. A city like Munich will probably be dominated by large (but respected) German breweries, but the other cities are big question marks (especially Vienna and Budapest, which are known more for wine production than beer). There will be good beer, but probably also some terrible Euro lagers.
A surprisingly helpful resource has been The Beer Book, mainly because it highlights beers from most major countries and has a pub crawl guide for Prague. My question to you, dear readers, is what sources you use for your beer travels? And do you have any recommendations for the above cities/countries (bars to go to, beers to try, etc)?